Bipartisan letter backs diplomacy, eschews imposing unworkable demands on Iran

March 18, 2014

WASHINGTON—J Street applauds the 395 Members of Congress who today sent President Barack Obama a letter expressing strong bipartisan support for diplomacy with Iran. In backing negotiations, the letter led by House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA-&) and Democratic Whip Steny H. Hoyer (D-MD-5) carefully avoids setting conditions for a final deal– particularly regarding the sensitive and complex issue of Iran’s domestic enrichment capability– that would undermine talks. Further, the letter constructively contemplates Congress’ role in repealing relevant sanctions statutes if and when a final agreement is achieved. J Street lobbied in support of the letter.

“This letter shows just how far Congress has come in recent months in their approach to dealing with Iran’s nuclear program,” said J Street Director of Government Affairs Dylan Williams. “In half a year, the debate has swung away from bellicose saber-rattling and toward an overwhelming consensus in favor of a workable diplomatic resolution that ensures Iran never acquires a nuclear weapon.”

The letter highlights very real concerns with Iran’s nuclear program and related actions, while expressly noting that its signers “do not seek to deny Iran a peaceful nuclear energy program.”

“It speaks volumes that, far from backing calls for military action, new sanctions or onerous conditions for a final deal, Congress has instead chosen to throw its weight behind diplomacy,” said Williams.